A Handbook of Middle English Studies
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A Handbook to Middle English Studies presents a series of original essays from leading literary scholars that explore the relationship between critical theory and late medieval literature.
  • Includes 26 new essays by leading scholars of late medieval literature
  • Sets the new standard for an introduction to the study of late medieval literature
  • Showcases the most current cutting-edge theoretical research
  • Demonstrates a range of approaches to late medieval literature
  • Brings together critical theory and medieval literature


Marion Turner is a Tutorial Fellow in English literature at Jesus College, University of Oxford. She is the author of Chaucerian Conflict: Languages of Antagonism in Late Fourteenth-Century London (2007), and numerous articles on late-medieval literature.


Acknowledgments xi

Notes on Contributors xiii

Abbreviations xvii

List of Figures xix

Introduction 1
Marion Turner

Part 1: Selfhood and Community 13

1 Imagination 15
Aranye Fradenburg

2 Memory 33
Anke Bernau

3 Desire 49
Elizabeth Scala

4 Gender 63
Nicola McDonald

5 Sexuality 77
Glenn Burger and Steven F. Kruger

6 Public Interiorities 93
David Lawton

7 Race 109
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen

8 Animality 123
Susan Crane

Part 2: Constructing Texts, Constructing Textual History 135

9 Authorship 137
Vincent Gillespie

10 Audience 155
Joyce Coleman

11 Manuscript 171
Alexandra Gillespie

12 Material Culture 187
Jessica Brantley

13 Genre 207
Julie Orlemanski

14 Aesthetics 223
Maura Nolan

15 Canon Formation 239
Thomas A. Prendergast

16 Periodization 253
David Matthews

Part 3: Politics and Places 267

17 Sovereignty 269
Robert Mills

18 Class 285
Isabel Davis

19 Church 299
Laura Varnam

20 City 315
Jonathan Hsy

21 Margins 331
Corinne Saunders

22 Ecology 347
Carolyn Dinshaw

23 Nation 363
Kathy Lavezzo

24 Language 379
Laura Ashe

25 Postcolonialism 397
John M. Ganim

26 A Global Middle Ages 413
Geraldine Heng

Index 431


“This sharp-minded, coherent set of essays both maps and liberates: not only does it map the intellectual territory of contemporary cultural debate; it also liberates the extraordinary texts of later medieval England to move across that contemporary cultural terrain.”—James Simpson, Harvard University

“Marion Turner has skilfully choreographed an exciting ensemble of fresh accounts of the English middle ages. We see the period in a new light that shows with compassion and imagination, as well as thoughtful scholarship, how the literature of the past speaks to contemporary preoccupations.”—Ardis Butterfield, Yale Unviersity

“Strikingly original: theory-literate and materially-grounded ways of reading Middle English texts.”—David Wallace, University of Pennyslvania